When it’s summer in Northern Michigan, eating at the water’s edge is a must! Food and Wine editor Tim Tebeau provides eight recommendations for some of the best places to grab a bite to eat by the water in Northern Michigan. Find the original spread in the July 2015 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine. Read on as we experience the North’s bountiful summer served up beside the aqua…

The Riverside Inn

302 East River Street, Leland 231.256.9971

Fragrant sweet potato gnocchi with local chèvre, platters of paper-thin house-cured coppa and fresh Lake Michigan whitefish with ramp coulis steal eyes away from the ribbon of river that runs in front of Leland’s Riverside Inn. With brightly buffed vintage speed boats tied to its finger docks, this whitewashed centennial inn and eatery serves a menu of contemporary wine country cuisine informed by Leelanau County’s abundant farms and orchards. Tender braised pork cheeks are nested on a Buenalba gratin with arugula and honey-glazed carrots, and bright yellow filaments of golden squash “pasta” get tossed with creamy truffle sauce, shiitakes, sweet peas and parsley. Proprietress Kate Vilter curates an impressively comprehensive wine list harnessing local Leelanau wineries, boutique California houses and a host of iconic Old World bottlings.

Arcadia Bluffs

14710 Northwood Highway, Arcadia 231.889.3001

A westward eyeful of glittering Lake Michigan punctuates bites of duck breast with Brie cream pappardelle or grilled salmon with rhubarb marmalade at Benzie County’s paradisical golf retreat.


5705 South Lake Street, Glen Arbor 231.334.2530

Locally sourced taste titillations like lake trout with lemon, bok choy and mint or rack of lamb with Saskatoon demi-glace sweeten a view of the Manitous and their azure environs. Celebrate the situation with some local bubbly.

Harbor 22

12719 South West Bay Shore Drive, Traverse City 231.922.2114

Brightly painted sailboats lolling at the base of West Bay make fine foils to gremolata-breaded whitefish tacos, pan-seared walleye with vegetable succotash and house ground burgers eaten al fresco at this Traverse City lakeside venue.

The Boathouse

14039 Peninsula Drive, Traverse City 231.223.4030

Begin your blue–water ogling on Bower’s Harbor with a glass of bubbles and fresh shucked oysters from the raw bar, then tackle a kobe filet au poivre with brandy morel cream or juniper smoked elk rack with chorizo hash and crispy kale.

Cafe Santé

1 Water Street, Boyne City 231.582.8800

Lake Charlevoix laps at the edge of the patio while you plow through planetary bowls of briny moules frites or slices of pâté maison washed with an absinthe fizz or a glass of albarino at Boyne City’s bustling Euro-brasserie.

Barrel Back

04069 M75, Walloon Lake 231.535.6000

Frothy pints of local IPA and two-handed brisket sandwiches from a shiny Southern Pride smoker are relished in equal measure with a view to the plunging hillsides around Walloon Lake’s basin.

Douglas Lake Bar & Steakhouse

7314 Douglas Lake Road, Pellston 231.539.8588

Evening loon calls and miles of unfettered wilderness shoreline engender a hankering for huge rib-eyes and flagons of cabernet, both done right at Pellston’s DLB.


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The Brengman Brothers Experience: Northern Michigan Hospitality Meets Fine Wine

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